In a world where genuinely talented tech experts (and particularly developers) are increasingly scarce, companies are falling over themselves to ensure they stand out. You want the best talent, but so does everyone else. Competition has never been fiercer, and with technology rising at such a rapid and seemingly exponential rate, the battle lines have been drawn. From establishing themselves as ‘Google-esque’ offices, to offering unlimited holidays to top talent, we’re definitely living in a candidate-driven market.
At least in the tech sphere.
But which tactics should you be using to recruit the best of the best? Are beers and dress down Fridays really enough these days, or have candidates grown savvy enough to see straight through such attempts, and started to demand more?
More than that, are businesses remaining true to their word, once the recruitment process is over, or is it all just for show to get people through the door?
It’s not just about finding the right tech wizards, it’s about retaining them. Retention is just as important as recruitment; it’s less expensive and more beneficial for everyone. So how can we find (and keep) truly talented techies in a market where candidates are spoiled for choice, and the number of companies desperate to hire high-quality individuals with great digital skills grows daily?
Here’s our take on the current troubles in tech, the big recruitment battle the technology sector is waging, and how to recruit and retain great people…
You already know how tough it is to find top techies, and with the gap growing where high-end tech skills are concerned, this is only going to become more of an issue. Given that the market is currently so candidate-driven, and potential recruits have their pick of all the top tech companies, it’s really time to step up your recruitment game.
How are you going to ensure technology candidates choose your business instead of the other companies offering them great roles?
Forward-thinking companies are implementing several practical strategies to ensure they’re going above and beyond when it comes to recruitment…
With over 60% of tech professionals currently underwhelmed by their salaries and struggling to feel valued in their roles, it’s more vital than ever to ensure your tech team feels valued.
Like we said, it’s a candidate’s market.
If your team of techsperts is feeling undervalued, it’s not going to be long before they’re out searching for somewhere that will value them. Even if they’re not actively searching for new opportunities, you’re leaving yourself wide open to having the talent you fought so hard to win poached out from under you.
One thing that technical types have in common is an eagerness to learn and grow. Even if they feel valued by your company, if they don’t feel like they’re being stretched, and given the opportunity to continually expand their knowledge and advance their career, you’re going to run into trouble.
Last year it was reported that a much as 79% of tech specialists would be willing to accept a fresh role if it offered more opportunities to expand on their skill sets, or offered them a better balance between work and life.
This shift towards dissatisfied tech talent is only increasing, and the result is a sharp increase in turnover rates on tech teams. All of this results in workers who are unmotivated, a company culture that is constantly dented as people come and go, and a downturn in productivity causing missed deadlines and delayed projects.
In an industry where success is determined by speed to market, the ability to retain your staff is essential, and should be prioritised.
With reports indicating that as many as 1.8 million jobs in the IT sector are going to be vacant come 2020, now is the time to focus on retaining your workers once you’ve hired them. The good news is that all the following great strategies can be used to not only attract top techies, but also help you retain that talent.
Company culture is one of the huge boxes candidates are looking to tick. For many recruits, finding a business that’s the right ‘fit’ for them both personally and professionally is high on their list of priorities – sometimes, even higher than the salary on offer.
Google and other culture-focused companies like Airbnb have been leading the charge where company culture is concerned for some time now. Making the creation of a positive working atmosphere one of your core priorities is essential, not only for attracting the right people, but also for keeping them. The benefits are huge, as you will not only have a great working atmosphere, and an amazing team, but your employees will repay your efforts tenfold in the quality of work they achieve when they love coming to work.
One thing you can rely on all technically skilled people being is innovative. They’re looking for environments that reflect, nurture, and promote this forward-thinking world-view. Take a look at the big businesses occupying Silicon Valley and you’ll find they have ‘break out’ zones, specifically designed for their team to relax, get creative, mull things over, and embrace ingenious new ideas.
By focusing less on the number of hours people are working, and more on the quality of the work they are putting out, you can shift your company culture to one that embraces creativity.
Creative types have their own processes. They may need certain things to help them collect their thoughts, work through problems, and push through the block that frequently plagues individuals with too many great ideas and not enough time to fully articulate them.
They may look like they’re playing Tetris, but they’re actually rearranging all those genius ideas into a workable plan. Having on-site perks like letting your workers bring their dogs into the office, gaming rooms where they can unwind, and even areas to take a nap can seem counterproductive to productivity. In actuality, a team existing in an environment that embraces such freedom and the quirks that come with genius will make them more creative, more engaged, happier, healthier, and more motivated.
All of that is very attractive to recruits, and ensures they’re productive and loyal once you’ve got them!
While a great company culture will get you a long way, the truth is that every other technology-driven business out there is either already doing the same, or will be very soon. It’s not enough to ensure your business has a great environment, it needs to offer a better environment than the other companies out there trying to hire the same people.
Do your research, and really get competitive. What are they offering in terms of benefits? What level of salaries are they giving employees? How can you one-up them?
Competitive salaries are the best way to put a clear and indisputable value on your people. It demonstrates you don’t simply see them as expenses, but as assets to your business. Not only will it make your candidates feel you value the contribution they can bring, it will give you an advantage when competing with companies who low-ball, or try to get away with paying the minimum.
Techies tend to work incredibly hard, and all that work should be rewarded. Your people need to feel appreciated, both during the recruitment process and once they’re part of the team. Respecting their time, value, and needs, both as professionals and individuals with lives and interests outside work, is a great way to position your business as the best place for them to work.
Even if you’re not able to offer the biggest salaries, there’s a lot you can do in terms of benefits to ensure you have the edge. Offering perks such as fitness at work programmes is a great way to offer tangible benefits with real value, not only to individuals but to team morale and the overall health of your team.
Offering flexible working hours, extra holidays, extended leave, and the ability to take sabbaticals to pursue passion projects and personal dreams is a great way to enrich what you have to offer candidates.
Speaking of dreams, Inc.com recently reported that techies are among the professionals most likely to be searching for a mission at work. They want to feel they’re doing something that matters. They need a narrative, a story that tells them their place in the grand scheme of things, and shows them how they’re making a mark in the world.
Ensuring your business has a very clear ethos and vision, as well as clarity in terms of future development and goals, is a great way to do this. Paint a picture of a bright and beautiful future that your recruits can really buy into.
The more they are inspired by what you’re doing, the more likely they are to chose to work with you.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your existing team when it comes to attracting new team members. According to Inc the people you will be working with is just as important to the decision to take a new role (and stay in it!) as the benefits and salary you’ll receive for that job.
Having great talent on your team is the best way to attract even more talent. People inspire people, and people at the top of their game need other high-level professionals to learn from and grow with. Highly talented people crave individuals at their level. They need it, not only to ensure they’re constantly pushing themselves to do and be better, but also to prevent simple boredom.
There’s nothing worse than being a genius perpetually surrounded by people who aren’t on your wavelength.
Genius attracts genius.
In a similar vein, techies also want to work for companies at the cutting edge, who are willing to embrace change and blaze new trails. This is largely true of a lot of people, but where technically skilled people are concerned it’s paramount, because so much of what they do is about innovation.
The tech mentality is to be constantly looking forwards, searching for the next ‘big thing’, and tweaking what already exists and how things are already being done to try to make them better.
Your people need to feel they have the opportunity and support to stay at the forefront of your industry. They will want all the latest technology, and the ability to keep their work exciting, fresh, and improving.
The simple truth is that if your competitors have all the latest tools, gadgets, gizmos and technology, while you’re still floundering with systems that are tired, dated, and unable to support the latest software and developments, your people are going to want to work elsewhere.
It’s simply a matter of ensuring they have the tools they need to stay great at what they do. And this isn’t just for their benefit – you’re hiring them for their technical skills, you should be doing everything possible to nurture those skills and keep them bang up-to-date.
That is how they will provide the most value to your company.
Even the most successful titans of tech like Facebook and Google had very humble beginnings. Tech companies generally start out as a small group of tight-knit individuals working incredibly hard towards a common goal, with a shared passion. Plenty of elbow grease later, they have grown and evolved into big, industry-leading companies.
Growth can happen incredibly quickly in the world of technology, and if you have a rapidly expanding tech team it can be difficult to effectively manage it. This is not only true from a recruitment perspective, but also more generally. Here are four things you can do to ensure the growth of your team is as painless as possible:
While fast growth has a lot of benefits, it’s important to ensure you’re scaling your team to meet the demands that growth puts on your business. Studies have indicated that an astonishing 97% of executives and employees believe that having a team that’s fully aligned impacts the delivery of both tasks and projects. Introducing new team members too quickly can put your existing projects at risk, as your team will naturally need a period of adjustment to realign itself to the new status quo.
If you’re constantly expanding your team, it will constantly be in a state of adjustment, and you’re going to struggle to maintain consistency in output and results through all that change.
Taking a mindful approach to growth will mitigate this risk. Don’t add new people for the sake of it. Focus on hiring the very specific people you most need to push your business forward and achieve your goals.
Success does not simply lie in identifying and attracting the best talent. It also hinges on granting those individuals a real sense of autonomy, and empowering them as they forge their way in the professional world. Trust they’re capable of making decisions, of choosing their own direction, and taking responsibility for their work and goals.
They don’t need you constantly monitoring or micromanaging them.
You hired them for their skills, let them put those skills to good use! People have been proven to perform less effectively when the feel under scrutiny.
The more your team grows, the less able you will be to keep working closely with every individual team member. As a result, it’s really improtant to have set, clear, and very well-documented process. If you’re recruiting for a role that already exists this is particularly important. You’re likely to have a lot of tasks that need doing in very specific ways. Enlisting your existing team to document the way things are done and teach newcomers is a great way to break the ice.
You’ll not only ease tensions, but ensure existing staff retain their own sense of value and worth, and don’t feel pushed aside by the newcomer(s).
In addition, having clear processes will ensure your deliverables are consistent and maintain quality across the board, regardless of what’s happening with the expansion of your team.
Create systems for your overall organisation and communication. A project management system, such as Asana, can be really helpful with this, allowing you to collate everything relating to a project or process in one place, easily accessible to the whole team. It will streamline communication and improve productivity, while ensuring consistency and smooth growth.
It’s one of those words that makes us all cringe: hierarchy. The very sound of it conjures images of rigidity and formality, so much so that you likely feel a natural disinclination to embrace a hierarchical structure within your business. But a hierarchy is actually extremely beneficial, particularly for a growing team.
Your people need to understand who reports to whom, who gets final say, and where the buck stops.
In addition, a hierarchy provides a clear path for career advancement to your employees, who are likely very eager to move on up the ranks in your rapidly expanding team.
If you’re worried that adopting a formal hierarchical structure will be detrimental to your team morale, don’t be. Studies have shown that your team will actually prefer clear hierarchical relationships to a system in which everyone is ostensibly equal.
We recently hosted an event exploring the challenges in tech recruitment with talks from Head of Development at Lookers, Ian Stacey, Talent Acquisition Manager at AmazeRealise, Amelia Steele, and Owner of Knight Talent Solutions and former HR Director at Pretty Little Thing, Victoria Idle.
Keep up to date with our upcoming tech events here.